Over the summer, my side of the family went to Florida to celebrate my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary. My mom booked a photographer to take pictures of all of us. I prayed all day that it would go ok. I wasn’t asking for perfection—I was asking for good enough.
Friends, it didn’t go well. James melted down quickly (as expected), my big sister tripped on the boardwalk (breaking her toe nail and later passing out on the beach), and my younger sister and I snipped at each other.
After my little family was done, I went back to the house and went to bed. All I could think was, this is the rest of my life—a sister with Down syndrome and a son with autism, both dependent on me. How will I be able to do it? They have different schedules, they move at different speeds, and I can’t meet his needs without neglecting hers (or vise versa). I’m not usually a worrier, but that night I just couldn’t stop.
There’s one story in Scripture when I think their worry about their future was at an all-time high. Under the leadership of Moses, the Israelites left Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land. But it didn’t go as they expected. And even though they had seen God do mighty acts, they still weren’t sure He would come through for them then or in the future.
Chapter 8 in Deuteronomy has a repeated phrase that stands out to me: “And you shall remember” (v. 2), “Take care lest you forget,” (v. 11), “You shall remember” (v. 11). And then in chapter 11, “Teach [my words] to your children, talking to them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (v. 19). It’s also summed up this way in our family’s favorite verse, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (145:4).
When I’m worried about the future, I take two actions—remember and tell. I remember what God has done, and I tell others.
When I was lying in bed at the beach house, worried about what may happen in five or ten years, I remembered what happened five and ten years ago. God was faithful! He helped us through difficult, seemingly impossible situations. He never left us alone. He worked all things out for our good and His glory! Won’t He do that again?
And if I need that reminder, the people around me do as well. So I tell my husband, I tell our son David, “Remember what God did?” And they remind me of times I had forgotten when He worked in our lives.
Remember and tell
We do it again and again when worry creeps in. When David has a big test, or when the therapy bill comes in, or when Lee isn’t sure how to help a couple who comes to him for counseling, or when I look ahead to what may happen over the next decade. Remember and tell. Remember and tell.
As Deut. goes on to say in verse 29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever …” He knows more than He reveals about His plans for our lives, but what He does reveal is enough to give us strength for today and hope for tomorrow. So we remember and tell all He has done!
For more encouragement on this journey as special-needs parents, check out my newest book Unexpected Blessings! It guides you through the five stages of being a special-needs parent and reminds you that God is using you and your family to bless others.